AN: sup guys, more brain fluff. Just kinda edited myself, so don't go hating on the mistakes. Feel free to point them out so I can fix them though, no idea about this whole Beta business that's been introduced since I was last publishing here.
Before the fleeing of their home world, the quarians had one of the most unique cultures in the galaxy, second only to the asari, and the asari culture was only so diverse due to the fact that they assimilated basically any culture they ran into. 300 years of nomadic space wandering had altered the quarians culture in ways no one could have foreseen. While a lot of traditions and practices were still very much alive aboard the Migrant Fleet, the reality of their situation forced many adaptations that would forever alter the interactions of quarians.
When they had first fled Rannoch, the hope had been that they could reclaim one of their colony planets from the geth and resettle the population before preparing to retake the home world. But as the fleet of refugee's were repelled from colony to colony by their former robotic servants, it soon became clear that the quarians would not be settling back on one of their colonies. At this point in time, the refugees had assumed that their fleet of ships would only be a temporary solution until they could find a habitable planet to begin colonizing, but months turned to years as the search continued. Planet after planet was found unsuitable and the few that might have supported the unique bodies of the quarians had already been claimed by other races. Without an embassy, they could not even petition properly for settling an uninhabited planet within citadel space.
Soon a whole generation of quarians were born and raised upon the ships, a generation of children who had never known a planet they could call home. Wandering had become the norm, and slowly the quarian people began to realize that their ships may be all they have for a long time. It was at this point that their scientists had really begun focusing their efforts less on finding a new home but more on making sure their current one could sustain them in the years to come while the search continued. The quarian immune system had always been unique amongst the other sentient races. Rather than having a search and destroy function as most species had, the quarian immune sysem instead adapted their whole body towards an invading foreign microorganism. During the adaptation process the quarian was extremely sick as their bodies changed, sometimes down to the molecular level, in order to accommodate the invading microbes.
Quarians that had been raised on different worlds would often differ slightly in their body makeup, and a quick blood analysis could often determine from which planet a quarian hailed from, sometimes even down to what sector. Of course the adaptation process was not only grueling, but often lethal as well. It was not unheard of for quarians to die before their body could adapt to a particularly strong strand of invasive microorganism. The changes wrought in the body of the quarian would be passed to their children, but if there is not a constant exposure to the same microorganism the body had specifically adapted towards, the adaptation would fade with time, often before the toddler could even speak. Without a constant bombardment of invading microorganisms, the new generation of quarians born on the sterile ships was found to have a weaker adaptation process. A much higher percentage of the space born quarians were dying from exposure to foreign germs and microbes. Scientists' predicted that the decline in the quarian people's immune system would only continue to get worst.
It was at this point in time that the first environmental suit had been designed and put into production. It was mainly for only those quarians who had to leave the Migrant Fleet so that they could be protected from alien microbes. Within a few years of the first production of the suits, it became standard issue for anyone leaving the ships, however they were still free to roam about their own ships without them. But as the ships got older and the ability to maintain sterilizing equipment became lax due to decreasing resources, quarians returning to the Migrant Fleet would often unintentionally bring back invasive species that got into the ship. People began to get sick and the illness would often spread from ship to ship as people traveled about. It became common practice for crew members to become permanently confined to certain ships rather then moving around in order to limit the spread of the illness that sometimes sprang up on ships who've received members that had journeyed away from the fleet.
But even that was not enough. Near the 100 year anniversary of the Quarian people's flight from Rannoch, a deadly virus got onboard the battle cruiser Deferen, and quickly spread across the entire fleet. What was supposedly a hanar equivalent to the flu was particularly hard for the quarian immune system to adapt to, and the plague claimed nearly half the lives of those living in the Migrant Fleet at the time. Losing almost 20 million quarians was a shock that required action, and so the admiralty board at the time had ordered the mass production of then environmental suits and decreed that all members were to keep them on unless in a sanitized room. Thus began the quarian people's entrapment within their own creation. For the first group of quarians confined within the suits who had known the freedom of walking in clothes on their own ship, it was a hateful relationship that they would die with. Claustrophobia was common for this first generation of suit users, and mental breakdowns were to be expected as a regular occurrence.
It would have been too expensive to constantly fit a growing child with an environmental suit, so instead the sterilization bubble was implemented. The child was placed within the translucent globe the minute they could walk, and their whole interaction with the world was through the bubble that could not be penetrated by anything unless it was introduced on purpose from the outside. And even then the cost of producing the sterile bubble was too much to be available for each child. Instead, special sterilized rooms were built where children were kept safe within to ensure they would not be exposed when not out and about in the sterilization bubbles. This of course limited the interaction between parent and their children, but it was a cost most were willing to pay. Children could not receive their first suit until their growth had stabilized somewhat, and the first suit was seen as a transition from childhood to adolescent.
The cost of making new environmental suits and maintaining old ones became a strain upon the Migrant Fleets resources, and logistics at the time projected that within a few decades resource acquirement of the Fleet could not keep up with the need and demands of the quarian people. Knowing this, many quarians began to take it upon themselves to journey away from the Fleet in order to acquire resources to bring back to sustain their people. Within a few decades, the habits of a few became the practice of the whole. Due to the earlier decree of quarians being confined to their home ships, interbreeding was fast becoming a problem aboard ships with small crew whose members were all practically interrelated in some way or another. Migration to another ship upon reaching adulthood had become the norm by then, but with the popularity of journeying outside the Fleet to bring back resources, it practically became a requirement in order to be accepted as a crew member on board a new ship. And thus the pilgrimage became an integrated part of quarian culture that doubled as a survival mechanism for their species.
The journey back to the Fleet with new resources became a rite of passage to adulthood, and with it came the mark of a new suit to emphasize that the quarian had shed the skin of childhood and become, a full adult member of the Migrant Fleet. No longer was the self containing environmental suit seen as a thing to hate, quarians began to take pride in the appearance of their suits. Before when the suits had first become wide spread in usage, the automated HUD would display the name of the person you were looking at. With their new found identity linked to their suits quarians began to painstakingly alter their outfits, often in artistic fashion in order to represent themselves. The HUD display program could still be called up in an instant, but it was no longer an active part of the software system of the HUD. Instead quarians began to distinguish people by the designs and patterns of a particular person's environmental suit. No two quarians would have the exact same designs, and even if they were a close match, size difference and walking patterns would become a dead giveaway. The appearance of the environmental suit had become a representation of the quarian not only as a person, but physically who they are.
So when Tali'zorah stepped from the shadows of the decontamination chamber, people were understandably stunned into silence. It would have been the human equivalent of sending your son to college and having a daughter return for Christmas break.
An: went a bit wild in the descriptions here, and didn't really even advance the story that much haha. Hopefully things will begin to clear up in the next two chapters, and we'll be seeing some combat soon on top of meeting John. Couldn't help the joke at the end after all that seriousness ;p